Yesterday the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, calling for public comments on the report. First published in 1980, the Dietary Guidelines are mandated by Congress to be reviewed, updated and released by the USDA and U.S. Department of Health & Human Services every five years.
For the first time, the report, prepared by a 13-member panel of health and nutrition experts, addresses a population that is overfed and undernourished. About two-thirds of adults and one-third of children in the United States are overweight or obese. As a solution, the report offers four major steps to help Americans get healthy:
Reduce the incidence and prevalence of overweight and obesity of the U.S. population by reducing overall calorie intake and increasing physical activity.
Shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. In addition, increase the intake of seafood and fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products and consume only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry and eggs.
Significantly reduce intake of foods containing added sugars and solid fats because these dietary components contribute excess calories and few, if any, nutrients. In addition, reduce sodium intake and lower intake of refined grains, especially refined grains that are coupled with added sugar, solid fat and sodium.
“We appreciate the hard work and guidance of the Committee and the expertise of its members,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a joint statement. “Their commitment to this endeavor assures the public that their report reflects the most current, comprehensive, evidence-based nutritional science available.”
But not everyone is pleased with the report. The Washington, D.C.-based Natural Products Association is concerned over what the group calls "troubling" statements in the report, such as the committee’s conclusion that “a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement is unlikely to offer health benefits to healthy Americans.”
“When less than 25 percent of the U.S. population eats the recommended serving of five fruits and vegetables daily, how are Americans to get the vitamins and minerals they need?” asked NPA Executive Director and CEO John Gay. “Advice to cut off a reliable and safe nutrition source, such as a daily multivitamin, doesn't seem logical or responsible.”
Comments on the report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans will be accepted until July 15, and final recommendations will be released by the end of this year.